Pokémon GO in October: PvP Priorities

G’day PoGO lovers. October content has just dropped with a bunch of new events, the release of Shadow Moltres, and some pretty decent spotlight hours! Let’s review the headline acts for October and look at other considerations throughout the month.

Spotlight Hours

Date Pokémon Bonus
October 3, 2023 Slowpoke
Candy icon 2× Candy for transferring Pokémon
October 10, 2023 Shroomish
XP icon 2× Candy for evolving Pokémon
October 17, 2023 Pumpkaboo
Stardust icon 2× Stardust for catching Pokémon
October 24, 2023 Phantump
XP icon 2× XP for catching Pokémon
October 31, 2023 Yamask
Candy icon 2× Candy for catching Pokémon

October’s a bit of a mixed bag for PvP but there’s a couple you will not want to miss. With the lead up to Halloween, there’s some great PvP relevant Ghost types on offer!

  • Slowpoke is available on October 3 with 2x transfer candy. Slowbro and Slowking are ok with their community day move Surf, but are definitely more suited to limited cup metas (eg: the current Psychic Cup). If you’re somehow missing one with decent IV’s (even after the Psychic Spectacular event) then now’s your chance to save one for December’s Community Day where you will be able to obtain its legacy move. Overall you’re probably best of taking advantage of the time to get double transfer candy for your spare legendaries.
  • Shroomish is available on October 10 with 2x evolution XP. Breloom is a basically a less bulky, less good, more fightier version of Chesnaught. Breloom isn’t seen much in the open meta, and there’s not a lot of reasons to try and snare a decent one as there isn’t a clear meta coming in the short term for it. All is not lost though – it’s worth popping on a star piece and taking advantage of the 500+ stardust per Shroomish catch. Shroomish is actually surprisingly decent in some Little Cup meta’s, as it’s surprisingly tanky and has a decent moveset, but definitely not the highest of priorities.
  • Pumpkaboo is available on October 17 with 2x catch stardust. Gourgeist is actually semi-decent, particularly in limited metas. With the Halloween Cup coming up on October 28, it’s nice timing if you’re looking to build one for the Great League. 2x stardust per catch is also nice, if you’re looking to cash in on the opportunity on back to back Tuesdays! In terms of the size, Medium and Large are the better sizes in terms of stat product for the Great League, and Super (XXL) is best for the Ultra League – though ultimately if you pick up a decent IV one for any size it’s worth hanging on to.
  • Phantump is available on October 24 with 2x catch XP. Most people probably have a decent Trevenant built by now – but if not, this is a great chance to find yourself one for both the Great League and Ultra League. Even with the recent nerf to Seed Bomb, Trev is still really good. In the Great League, the recent nerf to Sky Attack means less Noctowl’s flying about walling it, so it’s arguably more useful now than last season. In the Ultra League, it has to manoeuvre around Pidgeot but otherwise it remains highly relevant in the open meta. Plus, with Halloween Cup coming up it’s the perfect time to prep. This is a really good spotlight hour for PvP!
  • Yamask is available on October 31 with 2x catch candy. This is another really big deal for a spotlight hour. Yamask has typically been a fairly rare spawn, even during Halloween events, so to have them spawning en masse is worth taking advantage of! Cofagrigus is so-so in the open meta, but it is still quite good in the Great League, and even better in the Ultra League – albeit a little inflexible with no coverage against Dark types. However, to max out Cofa for the Ultra League you need a lot of XL candy, and an added bonus is that Runerigus shares the candy typing – and it is a really viable Ultra League pick too! So this is a fantastic opportunity to pop on a level 3 Ghost mega, hunt for decent Cofa IV’s, and grind for XL candies.

5 Star Raids

From a PvP perspective, the 5 star raids are ok, but there’s not a lot of open meta relevance.

Pokémon Dates
From September 23 to October 6 Entei, Suicune, and Raikou will appear in five-star raids, and they can be shiny.
Guzzlord From October 6 to October 20 Guzzlord will appear in five-star raids, and they can be shiny for the first time!
Darkrai From October 20 to November 3 Darkrai will appear in five-star raids, and they can be shiny.

I’ve already written about the Legendary Dogs viability in PvP here, so I won’t go into any more detail. However, it’s worth raiding some for their candy and XL’s, as their shadow forms will be due to debut in shadow raids in the not too distant future.

Guzzlord is back as a cool new shiny and is pretty good in PvP! In the Ultra League, Guzzy has a pretty decent win-loss record, and is a really decent wall to Ghost and elemental types. However, with the rapid rise of Steelix, the ever-present Registeel, and fairly common Fairy and Fighting types like A-Ninetales and Coballion, Guzzy is probably going to struggle to become part of the open meta. Unfortunately, at base level 20 with Raid IVs, you won’t be able to obtain one easily for the Great League, where it arguably shines brighter. If you didn’t hold onto one under 1500 CP from the Ultra Beasts event (or even if you did), it’s worth trading with a friend to roll the dice for a sub-1500 CP version. It’s shiny is super cool, so that alone may be worth it for you to prioritise the grind!


Darkrai is in a pretty tough spot in PvP right now, and is just not the best Dark type going around. With a slow moveset and pretty poor bulk, it just doesn’t have the staying power to pull off many wins, even at a shield advantage. In the Master League, where it should arguably be most viable, its still very meh. If you compare Darkrai to Yveltal (see matchups below from pvpoke.com), you can see that with the same moveset, Yveltal (with assistance due to its Flying typing and better stat product) has a much much stronger result against many key matchups, including wins against Groudon, Lugia, and Melmetal (to name a few). Darkrai comes out on top against Reshiram and Zekrom, which is good, but it’s just too fragile to put in meaningful work. 

Not all is lost – Darkrai is a very strong attacker in raids, currently ranked 8th overall for Dark types, so if you’re looking for something to round out your Dark type PvE squad you could do a lot worse. However, it’s still sitting behind Hydreigon and Tyranitar, which both have access to Brutal Swing and have recently had community days (plus Ttar’s mega release), so you may already have your Dark squad built out. I personally think it’s worth waiting to see what Niantic eventually decides to do with Darkrai’s signature move Dark Void, which could help its viability in the future. Until then, I’ll leave it up to you whether you work too hard at raiding while its in rotation.

Mega Raids

Pokémon Dates
Gardevoir (Mega) From September 16 to October 6 Mega Gardevoir will appear in Mega Raids.
Gengar (Mega) From October 6 to October 20 Mega Gengar will appear in Mega Raids.
Banette (Mega) From October 20 to November 6 Mega Banette will appear in Mega Raids.

October’s mega rotation doesn’t provide a lot of love in terms of PvP. I’ve already written about Gardevoir for September’s write up here, so I won’t go into too much detail again – but you probably want to try and focus on the shadow variant for PvP in the lower leagues.

Gengar and Banette are both super fragile and very decent Ghost type raid attackers in PvE. On the PvP side of things, Gengar used to be quite a common pick in Great and Ultra League, but is much less commonly seen in the open meta these days. Banette is super spicy but hard to use in the open meta. I would wait for the upcoming Halloween events for a PvP pick, but it’s a good opportunity to get the mega energy while they’re in rotation as they’re ranked 1 and 2 on the Ghost type raid charts.

Shadow Raids

Moltres (Shadow)

Shadow Moltres is going to be in rotation on weekends throughout October, replacing Shadow Zapdos in 5-star rocket raids. Moltres was one of the unlucky mons impacted by the Sky Attack nerf in this season, meaning that it takes a little bit longer to reach its cheapest charged move. It doesn’t have a terrible record in the open Ultra League, but its fragility makes it hard to use, and it doesn’t come out of too many winning matchups with much health left. Still, I would say it’s definitely worth raiding some while they’re around.

Events (including some speculation)

There are a lot of events this month, although we have limited information at this point about them all.

Out to Play
September 27, 2023 10:00am to October 2, 8:00pm local time

The Out to Play event features Growlithe and its Hisuian variant, amongst a number of others. There’s a fair amount of featured spawns on offer, but I would prioritise the following:

  • Onix – both Steelix and Onix are only increasing in PvP relevance with the introduction of Breaking Swipe to their movepools. This is another good opportunity to pick up the candy and XL candy you need to build them up, particularly Steelix for the Ultra League
  • FeebasMilotic is a bit of a sleeper pick but has good utility across all leagues, particularly in limited metas. Feebas isn’t a super common spawn, so this could be a great opportunity to pick up a good IV variant and the candy for the build.
  • Hisuian SneaselSneasler has great typing and an excellent moveset, although is super fragile and can get walled by many common meta picks. If you’ve missed out in recent events, now’s the time to focus on the research tasks to pick one up.
  • Hisuian Qwilfish – both Qwilfish and Overqwil have a fair amount of play, but typically in limited metas. Bulk helps a bit, but not a lot for these guys, so the fact that they’re in research shouldn’t deter you too much if you don’t yet have either of them built for the Great and Ultra League respectively.
  • EeveeUmbreon (Great and Ultra League) and Sylveon (Ultra and Master League) are both strong picks in the open metas, so it’s definitely worth picking them up if you need them.
  • Kanto and Hisuian Growlithe, Psyduck, Pawmi and Woobat aren’t really worth grinding for, but every mon has its time and place so it could be worth holding onto them for the future. I have a 98% shadow Growlithe that I’d love to use in the Master League one day, so I’ll be grinding for the XL candy!
Niantic Community Day Community Day
October 15, 2023, from 2:00pm to 5:00pm local time

While it’s unconfirmed, it’s heavily rumoured we will be seeing Timburr as the featured mon (and hinted at through the PokéStop showcase features). Stay tuned for more details – I’m super excited about this one!

Mystery Hour Pokémon Go ???
October 5, 2023 10:00am to October 9, 2023 8:00pm local time
Harvest Festival
October 12, 2023 10:00am to October 17, 2023 8:00pm local time
Incense Day: Type Shuffle Incense Day
October 21, 2023, from 2:00pm to 5:00pm local time

We don’t have any details about this event yet, come back for more details soon.

Pokémon GO Halloween 2023 Part 1
October 19, 2023 from 10:00am to October 26, 2023, 10:00am local time
Pokémon GO Halloween 2023 Part 2 + Team GO Rocket Takeover
October 26, 2023 at 10:00am to October 31, 2023 8:00pm local time

We also don’t have any details about these yet, but hold onto your charged TMs so that you can TM away Frustration on your shadow mons. There should be another shadow rotation too, which means hopefully some new shadows to get excited about!


Although slightly less exciting than September’s Paldean season launch, there’s still a lot to get excited about for the PvP side of the game in October. You can find me on Twitter or Instagram for more PvP spot analysis. As always, good luck with your shiny hunt!

See ya later,


Author & tags

The one enlisted to explain games to new starters. Great League and Ultra League PvP specialist, and a dabbler in PvE.

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